Meet The Maker

Hey guys,

Well, the lurgy has struck the Lily Pad and it’s a ‘Froggy down’ situation but I think I have enough energy to put this together for Blog Post Thursday. Forgive me if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, I didn’t get much sleep last night.

Today I’m offering up something a little different; a Meet The Maker post where I’ll disclose ten Froggy facts about me; a fun change to my usual posts. So, first off, for those that don’t know, this is me…

Meet the Maker blog post, image of Frog & Pencil

Image credit: The lovely Rose & Spear Photography

FACT 1

One question I’m often asked is, why did I choose the name Frog & Pencil? Well, it’s from a loving nickname my hubby gave me. Apparently, from a certain angle, I look like a Frog. Having created a Frog and a Bear character for our wedding, it naturally progressed to Frog & Pencil for my business. I love the name, it’s certainly memorable but I don’t quite see the Froggy resemblance.

FACT 2

I have dual nationality and was born across the pond in Austin, Texas; I’m officially a cowgirl…best get me some boots and a Stetson!

FACT 3

I love what I do but if I wasn’t an illustrator, I think I’d want to be a florist. I have found a new love of flowers after being in this industry and I’m in awe at how creative people can be with blooms. Their workshops also smell incredible…not sure how I’d deal with the cold though…I’d have to find a fab hat! My Mum kept the most amazing gardens, so I’m hoping I’ve inherited some of those green fingered genes for my own little plot.

FACT 4

I adore Children’s books. When I’m in a bookstore I always make a pit stop at the kids section and you’ll most likely find me giggling away and drooling over the beautiful and playful illustrations. My hero was Roald Dahl and I remember how deliciously lost I found myself within his words and Quentin Blake’s drawings. A dream of mine is to illustrate my own Children’s book one day and to create something that fires off kids imaginations.

FACT 5

At some point, during all my commissions and illustrations, there will be a moment where I utterly hate what I’ve made and I think it’s a pile of poop. I’ve learnt to try to not give in to those feelings and to simply carry on. The magic happens right at the very end when the last brush mark has been made, it just requires a dash of patience and a lot of belief.

FACT 6

I have a phone phobia! I’m fine when it’s friends and family but if my phone rings I get super anxious and tense. And making a call, well that’s the worst! I have to psyche myself up and make sure I have everything ready. For example, sorting out the car insurance. I have to sit in the quiet, have a glass of water and a pad and pen ready. I’ll write down my own details, address, phone number, etc, just incase I blank when they ask for them. I even write down reference numbers even though they’re right there on the letter…they have a funny way of hiding when prompted. Holy moly I just hate it and I feel so relieved when it’s over! Silly right!?! Anyone else feel this way about phones? If so, any tips on how to manage those feelings would be greatly appreciated.

How I survived in a call centre, on the phone selling mortgages for 3 years, I don’t know, I already feel a cold sweat coming on just thinking about it!

FACT 7

I fell out of love with illustration. I was a mature student at University and after an amazing year at foundation level, I was so excited about Uni. It was mostly a horrid three years where I just didn’t fit in and never found my groove. In hindsight, I think I should have seen a doctor as I was terribly depressed and I became a crazy person. I made it to the end though and somehow passed. I graduated in 2011 and still to this day when I’m in that part of Norwich I get very uncomfortable. I’m a believer in things happening for a reason though and I discovered tenacity. It also opened some sideways and upside down doors which inevitably led me to where I am today. I’m happy to say, for the majority of the time, my illustrations and I are friends. 🙂

FACT 8

I ADORE earrings and hats. They make me so happy.

FACT 9

I’m a big fan of cheese but it makes my face tingle…I could be allergic but the stuff is too damn tasty. Nom!

FACT 10

A lovely friend recently asked what inspires my work. Some of the biggies would include, nature and the awesome colour play you can see right outside your window. Couples stories inspire my work, if they have a cute anecdote that can be captured I like to include it. Instagram is a big inspiration, the creative community on there is incredible and spurs me on to make good work too. Lastly, the local wedding supplier community fuels my passion. There are so many talented people in this industry, photographers, stylists, cake makers, designers and florists to name a few and they’re always pushing the boundaries. Their way of thinking encourages me to step out of my comfort zone. I’m honoured that I can call a lot of these guys my friends.

There you have it, some Froggy insight which I hope you enjoyed and could also relate to. The Bear and I will be having a two week break as of this coming Monday, so look out for a new post when I return, there’s always plenty to share. In the meantime, I’m off to battle this lurg!

Adios amigos,

Cx

Frog, Pencil & Camera…A Collaboration!

Hello there!

Things have been ticking along nicely over the past few weeks for Frog & Pencil and I’ve been working on a commission that I simply can’t share with you just yet…but soon it will be revealed!

Alongside that little nugget, I’ve been involved in my first collaboration project which I’m delighted to share with you all today.

My awesome Niece Niki is currently in her second year at NUA studying photography. This term they were asked to collaborate with a fellow photography student and one other person; so naturally I was rather chuffed when Niki and Sam asked me to hop on board. I don’t know if it was a part of their brief to work with someone outside of the University but hats off to them as this is valuable and relevant experience to working with other designers throughout the creative industry. Perhaps this should be considered for future briefs.

By creating a wedding themed shoot, Niki and Sam felt that this idea would compliment both their photography styles and this is also where my designs came into play. The original plan sounded beautiful being a boho woodland photo shoot with lots of warm festoon lighting, furniture, fabrics and my artwork hanging from branches. So gorgeous! Sadly, they were let down at the last minute and were unable to make it to Thetford Forest. I do feel for Niki & Sam as they had been planning this for months but these things happen in life and will certainly happen in the working world. Credit to the gals for thinking on their feet and finding a simpler and lovely solution in the studio.

I wasn’t able to make it to the shoot, though I would have loved to have popped my head in to see the set up. Thanks to Sam, she created a fab behind the scenes video which is ace and you can watch it in all it’s glory here…

I spent a fun morning with Niki, coffee & pastries editing her photographs and it was a great experience for me to see and be a part of the final process. Overall I think the images look great. I really like Sam’s compositions of the frames and flowers hanging from the bamboo at different heights. I particularly love Niki’s warm tonal quality she’s captured, I think it naturally compliments my work and the colours within my illustrations.

I’ll certainly be adding some of these photographs to my website gallery but in the meantime you can enjoy a select few here…

I loved being a third collaborator on this project and I hope my designs gave them both enough to work with and they managed to snap what they needed.

I’d certainly recommend you give these guys a look and follow, so here’s my Croak Out to Niki & Sam…

Niki Antell: N.J Photography

Samantha Cameron: Samantha Cameron Photography

There is another Frog & Pencil collaboration in the pipeline which I’m rather excited about…it’s going to be colourful and wonderfully bonkers; watch this space!

Good luck with the rest of the second year guys and thanks for asking me to be a part of this project.

Toodles,

Cx

Stay Curious!

Hello there!

You cannot imagine the little squeak of excitement that escaped me when I opened up an e-mail last Wednesday from A Most Curious Wedding Fair (AMCWF). There had been a last minute cancellation and they wanted to know if I was free to exhibit…OH HELL YES!

I had been in touch shortly after launching Frog & Pencil to see if they had any spaces but of course, they were full. I spoke with Gem (the lovely gal organising the fair) and she mentioned that I could still promote myself via their directory list and I happily signed up…but holy moly I was over the moon to have the chance to exhibit!

I attended the fair last year, as a Bride, and I took my gorgeous Maid of Honour with me. It was exactly the kind of fair I had been looking for, something a little more quirky and personal – a refreshing alternative to the more traditional fairs I had been to. So, when Frog & Pencil hopped into the world, I knew that this was my kind of event!

AMCWF describes themselves as a fair for the ‘style savvy couple’ but I think it’s so much more that that. The suppliers are cool, unique, chic, individual, whimsical, eclectic and offer couples something fresh within the wedding industry. I believe that weddings are changing, they’re becoming so much more personal and couples can do whatever they want…if they so desire. You don’t have to have a ‘cookie cutter’ kind of day and I love that AMCWF embraces this idea.

The Fair is held in St Andrew’s Hall in the centre of Norwich and it is a stunning venue. My hairy, glamorous assistant and I arrived early to set up, which thankfully didn’t take much time at all – we’re becoming pro’s now! I had seen the list of exhibitors prior to the day and I genuinely felt honoured to be one of the suppliers among them; there were some amazing people showing off their wares! Seriously, Norfolk is overflowing in creative talent; you lucky, lucky Brides!

Doors opened at 11am and there was a queue to get in for most of the day. With a friendly atmosphere and a steady flow of people, it had all the ingredients for a great day. I spoke to many lovely couples and I really enjoyed hearing about their plans. Frog & Pencil received so much love from the public and fellow exhibitors, I was smiling all day with pride…I still am! In the last hour it quietened down and I took that moment to explore the show, peruse the stands and chat to the wonderful faces stood alongside them.

Here’s my Most Curious Wedding Fair gallery – I meant to take more photographs but I was just simply enjoying being in the moment. Sadly, I later discovered that a bunch of my photos were super blurry…I need to invest in improving my camera skills, but here’s a taste of the day.

As I’ve mentioned, AMCWF was jam packed with amazing suppliers and like last week at Wensum Valley, I’d like to share with you a handful of them.

A SPECIAL CROAK OUT TO…

A Most Curious Wedding Fair: A HUGE thank you to Gem and the team for having me last minute, I truly appreciate the opportunity. You were so welcoming and I loved being a part of the day. Go check out their website to see all of the awesome people who exhibit in the London & Norwich shows…and don’t forget to click on the Most Curious Directory to find suppliers who are equally brilliant but were unable to make a show.

The Little Lending Company: Here you can find fabulous decor accessories and props to hire out for your wedding day, or you can choose from the ‘styled station’ range. Penny is so friendly and super creative; she’ll have whatever you need to make your day unique.

The Swaffham & Fakenham Florist: These gals will make your wedding blooms look spectacular! They teamed up with The Little Lending Company and created an incredible stand at the show, so you won’t be disappointed; go check them out!

Flower30: Another very talented florist who had a gorgeous stall. I spoke with Sharon for a while and she’s so lovely! An artist with a bunch of flowers!

Beth Moseley Photography: Beth creates the most beautiful, natural and relaxed photographs! She’s also lovely, just what you need on your big day – give her a bell if you’re in the market for a photographer!

Buns of Fun: I had a great time meeting Emma and she gave me lots of advice about starting out. Her cakes are incredible and each time I went over to introduce myself there were always people chatting to her. Get in quick I say!

Dust with Cocoa: Debbie is another delectable cake maker, they are just gorgeous! She also won ‘Best Stand’ on the day and it did look marvellous. Check out her website for more cakey delights!

Doughnut Lab: Hold on to your hats as these are by far the BEST doughnuts around! We’ve been a big fan of these guys since they launched; we even had a batch delivered for my birthday. They pack all their doughnuts full of flavour, you’ll just want more and more! We certainly had a happy doughnut lab face at the end of AMCWF; yum!

Grace & Fortune: Beth creates delightful, delicate accessories for your hair and I fell in love with her designs. One of these would finish off your Bridal look perfectly…I wish I had known about her last year.

Botanical & Bloom: I’m a sucker for geometric shapes and succulents, so naturally I fell in love with Hannah’s stall. She creates geometric concrete planters which are so chic and contemporary! They’re on my wish list as a home for my new little succulent, Derek.

So, to all you couples out there, click away and absorb all this wedding inspiration and create a day that reflects who you both are.

Till next time, stay curious!

Cx

A Kula Christening Commission!

Hello there!

I have a rather adorable commission to share with you all today and it also happens to be quite a personal one too. Our gorgeous friend’s, the Kula’s, have two beautiful girls, Isabel and Abigail and I was delighted to create their Christening Invitation. Even though Claire and Pawel are close friends, I treated the whole process like I would with a client…so it was good practice for me.

I had a Skype chat with Claire about what they were looking for and it was decided that the design should include the girl’s portraits within a floral garland. They wanted to include yellow roses and overall, for it to be colourful, bright and joyous. Isabel also likes butterflies and I wanted to add them to the design for an extra personal touch.

I LOVED illustrating the girls and I had so much fun creating the whole invitation. After a few wording tweaks it was completed in a couple days and I’m delighted with the result, as are the fabulous Kula’s!

Here’s the Kula Christening Invitation gallery from beginning to end; enjoy the little munchkins!

Claire has also mentioned that she’s received some lovely feedback from friends and family about the invitations which just makes my heart soar. I’m pretty proud of this commission and delighted to have a happy customer. Lewie and I are also honoured to be Isabel’s God Parents, so I had to do a good job really…didn’t want that title revoked!

Another great example that I don’t just focus on weddings, so if you have a celebration coming up and are looking for personal and bespoke stationery, get in touch and say hello.

I’m off to get ready for A Most Curious Wedding Fair...a last minute cancellation means that Frog & Pencil is now exhibiting this Sunday, eeek! More on that later.

Wishing you all a fantastic weekend!

Cx

A Froggy First!

Hello there!

Last week was a wonderful whirlwind while I prepared for Frog & Pencil’s very first Wedding Fair.

Having only launched in February, I couldn’t believe my luck to have found a stand available at a Spring event…I genuinely thought I may have missed the boat and would have to wait for the Autumn fairs. Lovely Norfolk Brides offered me a spot at the Wensum Valley Hotel Wedding Show on Sunday 13th March and I snapped up the opportunity!

My week was spent designing flyers, making sure I had enough samples, thinking of creative ways to arrange my stand and to have everything printed in time. I even invested in a roller banner…this was particularly exciting for me as in my previous marketing jobs I’ve spent many an hour running around beautiful Norwich delivering and setting up roller banners. It felt quite poignant when my very own was delivered and I LOVE it.

Sunday came around in a flash and it was an early, misty start for my hubby and I as set up started from 7am.  We were welcomed by the team and made our way to the Frog & Pencil table and wowzers, we had a great spot (with a beautiful outlook too)! It also turns out that we were fortuitous with our brilliant exhibitor neighbours, Lesley from Short Cakes and Aurora Wedding and Events Hire, both were so friendly, helpful and gave me loads of advice about the Wedding Fair scene, a big heartfelt thank you to you guys.

At 10am the doors opened and I was raring to go! A bride approached my table, looked at my designs, shook her head and said to her friend ‘No!’…a good start hey! It did make us chuckle and thankfully, throughout the day I was given many lovely compliments. There was a steady stream of people and the five hours flew by. It also helped that we were sat by popular stands such as Adnams, Short Cakes and Aurora as they brought welcomed footfall to Frog & Pencil.

I spoke to so many awesome couples about their wedding day plans and it was also a pleasure to be able to give some tips having lived through this adventure last year. It felt amazing to hear that people enjoyed my work and to see their big smiles appear as they clocked my stall. There were a bunch of comments on how ‘different’ my illustrations are and I’m incredibly proud of the fact that Frog & Pencil is unique.

Overall it was an excellent and positive experience. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to other exhibitors and networking, they all gave some great guidance. Even more so, it was interesting to see how my target audience felt about my work; however the proof is in the bookings. As of yet, nothing’s pinged through but it’s still early days and I’m hopeful.

Being by a window on a beautiful sunny day was just perfect albeit a little challenging when taking photos but thankfully they’ve turned out pretty good with a little editing…so here we are, enjoy clicking through my Wensum Valley Wedding Fair Gallery.

We were honoured to be amongst some brilliant exhibitors and I hope they all had a successful show. I wanted to take the opportunity to give a handful of those a mention and share their details.

A SPECIAL CROAK OUT TO…

Norfolk Brides: Dalia and Tim were brilliant hosts and I’m very appreciative of all their help and knowledge in the run up to this event. Check out their website to see what’s coming up next!

A Most Curious Wedding Fair: Sat in front of us was the lovely Hannah from A Most Curious Wedding Fair. On Sunday 20th March they will be hosting their unique Wedding Fair in St Andrews Hall in Norwich from 11am – 4pm. I visited last year and it was ace, certainly worth having a look around. You’ll also find a familiar froggy face in their Most Curious Directory as a cool, recommended supplier…which is very exciting for me!

Short Cakes: Our super wonderful neighbour Lesley who creates the most beautiful, delicate wedding cakes. We were lucky enough to have a sample of the chocolate cake and it was delicious, so if you’re in the market for a celebratory sponge then get in touch…be quick though, people were flocking to her stand looking to speak to ‘The Cake Lady’!

Aurora Wedding and Events Hire: Another ace neighbour who were also popular! Providing hire items for your big day, give them a look…their sweetie cart is a must for kiddies and husbands alike!

Adnams Norwich: Dishing out tasty tipples these guys were BUSY!!! I can personally recommend the Adnams Prosecco, we served it at our wedding and it is a moreish fizz with a fabulous price tag to boot!

Joshua Patrick Photography: If you’re looking for a photographer, hop on over to Josh’s website. He’s really friendly, enthusiastic and his images are natural, relaxed and just stunning; you won’t be disappointed!

Oops! a Daisy Florist: The gals at the show were gorgeous and they had such a delightful stand full of romantic, whimsical flowers which I thought were divine. I’d pay them a visit if you’re looking for an excellent and creative florist.

There we have it, my first show done and dusted; I LOVED it. Thanks for having me Norfolk Brides and thanks to all the couples who took the time to check us out. Drop me a line if you have any questions or would like a quote, it would be wonderful to talk some more.

Have a tip top evening all and I’ll be back later in the week with a post all about the details from my Christening commission…I’ll warn you, it’s a cute one!

Cx

Hop Hop Hippo!!!

Hello there!

It has been BUSY up here at Frog & Pencil HQ, hence the lack of posts of late but in the coming weeks I have quite a few exciting things to write about, so you should see a rise in my blogging.

A few days after we launched the Frog & Pencil website a lovely little gem of an e-mail pinged its way into my inbox. My first, official web enquiry for a commission. Both Lewie and I were ecstatic…I was hopping around the lounge with excitement because a real live human being wanted me to make something for them and Lew was jumping around, proud that the web contact form works and was successful! Needless to say, we were rather happy.

The very wonderful S is pregnant with her first child and wanted to announce their joyous news with a card to send to family and friends. She had seen my work on Facebook and liked my style, so after checking out my website she got in touch. S was looking for an illustration that had a pink mummy hippo, a grey daddy hippo and a baby hippo popping out behind them, with the line ‘We would like to introduce you to someone’ alongside them. And on the back she envisioned ‘Delivery expected August 2016’. I instantly thought this sounded ADORABLE and such a sweet idea; a nice alternative to sharing the news on social media. This commission was just my cup of tea and I was delighted to create a card for S and her Husband.

We chatted a while about any additional embellishment such as a garland, however, it was decided to keep the design pretty simple with a little decoration to compliment the hippos.

I absolutely loved working on this commission, it was a really fun project and it also helped me to figure out what my packaging style would become too. It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted all the goodies to S and her Husband, which thankfully arrived safe and sound. Along with the final cards, I included envelopes, a thank you card, my business card and the original painting which I believe will be perfect hung up in the nursery. I’m proud to say that they’re thrilled with their hippo card and I was very chuffed to receive some brilliant feedback.

Commission Feedback

Here you have it folks, Frog & Pencil’s first commission…enjoy the hippo gallery!

Walking my first parcel to the Post Office, I was overcome with pride and I can’t wait to create more designs to make future clients smile.

As you can see, I don’t just illustrate loveliness for weddings; I’ve actually just finished a Christening Invitation (which will be posted on here next week). If you, like S, enjoy what I do and have a special announcement or want to mark a particular occasion, get in touch, I’d love to chat to you! E-mail me here… hello@frogandpencil.com

Wishing S and her Husband all the best for the future with their mini hippo of joy. A massive thank you for asking me to make your card and also for supporting an independent small business.

I hope you’re all having a marvellous Wednesday and not getting too soggy, I’m off to get ready for my first Wedding Fair…more on that later!

Cx

It’s All Hotting Up…

Hello there!

Things have been getting rather busy over here at Frog & Pencil HQ which is why I haven’t had a chance to publish anything recently. I’ve bitten the bullet and set an official date to launch this little business and go live with the website…and it’s only a couple of weeks away, eeek! My saint of a husband and I have been getting our hustle on to make sure we have everything we need for the website (between you and I, it’s looking really good!).

It’s been an exciting, albeit sometimes frustrating process and I love that we can work together on it. Now, I have zero coding knowledge, that’s Lew’s department but I can bring my design eye to the table and it’s a dandy collaboration. As I said before, he’s a saint and has patiently listened, applied all the changes and minute pixel tweaks that I want to make, there have been plenty! He’s also learnt that when I say ‘I don’t hate it’ to a particular element, that means we need to modify it. I’m in complete awe of his skills! Lew’s never said ‘No, we can’t do that’, he will always find a solution and I adore him even more for it.

The website is starting to come together and I’m hyped to be popping on all the final content shortly. Watch this space…it’ll be up and running in no time!

Alongside all those shenanigans, I’ve been finalising the designs that I want to display on the site. Everything has now been sent to the printers and I’m excited to see the final results. Once these are through, I will attempt to take some kick ass ‘I want to hire her’ photographs ready to use on the website. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some good weather so that I have lovely light to work with. It could result in me busting out an epic sunshine dance or two.

This week I completed my Lovebirds Wedding Invitation. This is the first design that will be a part of my Ready to Write collection. Ready to Write’s are a budget friendly option for couples who like my style but funds are tight. These will be a simple invite with a lovely image on the front and you write on the back, filling in the blank spaces. I created a pair of Lovebirds and I’m thrilled with how they’ve turned out…I think they are my best illustrations to date and I hope that others will love them too.

 

The future plan for Ready to Write Invitations is to extend the collection with other designs and to include a Save the Date, RSVP and a Thank You card. But to kick things off with, I think these guys are pretty damn delightful.

In the pipeline for the upcoming week I’ll be writing website content, planning the Frog & Pencil launch party (gotta celebrate this moment!), making an appointment with the bank and hopefully start photographing my work.

Not long now; it’s feeling so real I could burst!

Have a brilliant weekend.

Love what you do.

Cx